Yes, I love training horses, but dog training is another, lesser known passion of mine. I guess I enjoy working with animals of any kind!
When I brought Ruby (my English Shepherd) home 4 years ago, I knew I wanted to be super intentional with her training. Did everything turn out perfectly? Nope. She still barks at the horses when they run in the paddock. She greets guests with an overabundance of energy. And she is still a little rougher with the cats than I would like.
That said, she’s grown into an amazing dog – well behaved, obedient, trusted off-leash, loves people and good with farm animals.
As I pondered Ruby’s life and the upbringing of other wonderful dogs, I came to the conclusion that there’s A LOT that goes into a great dog…but two factors stood out to me the most:
TIME and CONSISTENCY.
Raising a good dog requires a boatload of time – and not just formal training time. I’m talking time for walks, play, snuggles, outings, obedience classes, playing with other puppies and socialization.
I’m not suggesting you become one of THOSE people – you know, the type to bring their dog with them everywhere (no, I do not bring Ruby to friends’ houses, have her ride along during errands or have her sit with me outside at coffee shops, etc.). I AM suggesting that you actively engage with your dog daily, especially in the formative puppy years.
However, time isn’t the only thing a dog needs, consistency is also extremely important. Know your rules. Ruby knows she is not allowed on the furniture. She cannot wake me up if I’m sleeping (unless absolutely necessary). She must come when called. She cannot go into the neighbors’ yard. Plus a variety of other rules.
The rules I strictly enforced as a puppy, she keeps consistently. And if I didn’t lay down my expectations, Ruby created her own (NOT ideal).
Do you have (or know) a great dog? What do you think was the key to success?
Check out my latest YouTube video to find out a few of the most important things I trained my farm dog.